Skype, PlayStation Strikes First, Xbox 360 and Wii U to Follow?
It looks like Skype and Sony has struck first to implement the video and voice calling services into a game device, marking the first video calling service for PlayStation. The popular service may see its way into more gaming devices and consoles such as the Xbox 360 and Nintendo's Wii U.
Sony announced that its Skype app will be available for the PlayStation Vita, allowing it to work with the handheld mobile gaming device through its front and rear cameras. The app is free and can be downloaded at the PlayStation store May 25.
"Our users appreciate being able to access Skype features wherever and whenever they choose," said Skype's Senior Director of Consumer Electronics Group, Manrique Brenes.
"With the launch of Skype for PS Vita, we are taking another step toward our ultimate goal of making Skype video calling available on every platform, all over the world, and meeting the demands of existing PlayStation users to offer video on a gaming console," added Brenes.
PlayStation Vita's 3G and Wifi models would benefit from the new app as it can also run in background mode. This allows gamers to play a game and be able to pause their game in order to take a call.
The new app would expand Skype's reach beyond smartphones, tablets, and place the company into the gaming realm. Sony may soon have company as recent news indicate that Microsoft is currently working to integrate Skype into its game console, Xbox 360.
Microsoft's acquisition of the voice and chat company Skype has long given the company an opportunity to place the service across a multitude of platforms. It may be likely that the feature will roll over to the new Xbox 720 console. The company also announced its plans to utilize the console beyond gaming into a fully fledged entertainment system.
"Skype will be a big benefit across the company, as we've talked about how it plays across all of our businesses," said Peter Klein, Microsoft's CFO.
The project has been kept under wraps but there is no doubt that Skype and Xbox will be integral parts to counter Sony's new Skype inclusion.
Nintendo Wii U may also utilize Skype amongst the new technology that it will be introducing onto the new console. One probability of offering Skype can be found it Nintendo's future app store that will host a variety of "light" games and programs including a Mario calculator and other existing apps from the Dsi and Wii Shop.
With the increase of online game and app purchases, Nintendo will be joining the party as it plans to expand profits with Downloadable Content and online sales.
"Cutting production costs to maximize profits is Nintendo's main concern with the Wii U," said a source in an interview with Forget the Box. "There is a bigger focus on downloadable content, applications, video content, digital distribution, and services to create a stream of revenue."
Even though Skype is free, it may draw users to other apps offered in the Wii U online store.
Sony's initial Skype app offering on the PlayStation Vita will test the waters in the future of game related apps. For now, it can look forward to implementing its strategy on bringing streaming media and contents to consumers on the go, according to Sony's Director of Hardware Marketing, John Koller.
"The sky potentially is the limit with non-gaming apps, but we don't want them to be. We want them to be a smaller number that's very relevant, rather than just opening us up to every single developer that can throw an app at us," said Kolller.
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